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Timken House, 1888 Comstock & Trotsche


2501 First Avenue Located on First Avenue in Banker’s Hill, the lovingly restored Timken House was constructed for the affluent San Diego businessman Kerry Timken in 1888. The Timkens were a prominent local family involved in real estate and fine art. Their impressive collection of rare old European masterpieces that was originally displayed inside the mansion now hangs at the namesake Timken Museum and at the San Diego Museum of Art located in nearby Balboa Park.


The Timken House was designed by noted architects Comstock and Trotsche who applied Colonial Revival influences to the home’s overall Queen Anne style. The massive scale and high- end design represented by the three-story, single-family Timken residence epitomizes the wealth and opulance associated with the boom period of the 1880s. In the years prior to the completion of the transcontinental railroad, San Diego was an isolated, small and dusty frontier town. Finally linked to the rest of the country by rail, it was able to prosper and grow quickly into a sophisticated urban center under the civic leadership of well-to-do families such as the Marstons, Spreckels, Timkens and others. By 1888, the city had approximately 37 miles of trolley tracks, and the new, sparsely populated Uptown section of town provided an ideal suburban park- like setting for members of the privileged classes to build plush mansions away from downtown’s hustle and bustle.


Including the landmark Horton Grand Hotel and the Villa Montezuma, architects Comstock and Trotsche catered to the city’s elite and designed nearly sixty buildings in San Diego during the firm’s short term of operation here in the 1880s. Their clients demanded that their new buildings convey a strong sense of their wealth and social standing. The quality craftsmanship of the Timken House, with its attention to detail and use of luxury materials such


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